Earlier this week, in a column on Damar Hamlin, I wrote that people from Buffalo and the Western New York are grateful for what they have.
As a Western New York native who also lives in the area, I am extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity to write this article every Friday and for what has now been four NFL regular seasons.
At first glance, it's an ultra novelty piece that doesn't have much traction. And at the outset of The Practice Squad Power Rankings, that's precisely what it was. I didn't know how the article would be received. I didn't know if there'd ever be a player mentioned here who'd get elevated to a 53-man roster during the regular season. I didn't know if any PSPR alumni would materialize into regularly used players in the NFL.
And it's been so gratifying writing the PSPR every week because it has served as an extension of the months and month of film-watching and prospect-evaluation work I do in preparation for every NFL Draft in April. And it gives my brain a break from focusing only on that.
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Plus, there are countless examples of NFL players who didn't exactly hit the ground running as professionals who ultimately became very successful in this league. Some of those can proudly call themselves PSPR alumni -- like Saints TE Juwan Johnson or 49ers WR Jauan Jennings, Pro Bowler Jeremy Reaves of the Commanders... the PSPR OG. Over four seasons, a collection of PSPR alums have become starters and key contributors around the league. That fact has been very surreal.
The 2022 CUT (call-up tracker) reached the 30 call-up mark. A milestone for the season. Right now, we're at 31 elevations entering the final Elevation Saturday of the 2022 regular season. This week's list is centered around players on teams with much to play for in Week 18.
I'd like to finish with a proper thanks to you, the faithful PSPR patron, who's checked this article every week throughout the season or maybe just checked in every once in a while. A series ranking practice squad players would not exist for my enjoyment and yours without you. Beer is on me this weekend. Here's to another successful, blast of a year at Practice Squad Power Rankings Headquarters. Year 5 will be bigger and better than ever.
10. Malik Jefferson, LB, Cowboys
Leighton Vander Esch isn't 100%, and the Cowboys could steal the No. 1 overall seed from the Eagles at the buzzer in the regular season. How amazing would that be for that ferocious NFC East rivalry? If LVE can't go, the Cowboys will need reinforcement at the linebacker position. And of course I'm not insinuating Jefferson can completely replace LVE, he is a bigger off-ball defender who has good linear speed and can get around the football behind Dallas' strong defensive front.
9. Taco Charlton, EDGE, Jaguars
The Jaguars play the Titans in a winner take all event on Saturday evening, and could do so without No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker, who's a little banged up right now. Charlton, a former first-round pick who never materialized in Dallas, is another big, long, physical specimen at the defensive end spot who could adequately stand in for Walker if Jacksonville needs him.
8. Brady Breeze, S, Lions
Breeze was a playmaker at Oregon, which led to him getting snagged in the sixth round by the Titans. He's not a slouch athletically, either. He ran 4.55 with a 38.5-inch vertical at his pro day in 2021. The Lions desperately need to play better defense to sneak into the playoffs, and star rookie safety Kerby Joseph is a little dinged entering Detroit's outing against the Bears.
7. Curtis Brooks, DT, Titans
Brooks was part of the PSPR earlier in the season as a member of the Colts. They released him, but he stayed in the AFC South. The Titans are reeling in the worst way, and simply need more push from their interior defensive linemen not named Jeffery Simmons. Brooks has yet to play this season but his collegiate film showed a sudden, up-the-field rusher with a pass-rush specialist skill set.
6. Tyler Goodson, RB, Packers
When the Packers are running it well, they're very difficult to stop. Goodson was born to run in Mike LaFleur's outside zone system and has serious juice. He ran 4.42 at the combine. And Aaron Jones is injured. A.J. Dillon certainly can carry the load but Goodson is the ideal complement for Green Bay's showdown with the Vikings.
5. Cole Beasley, WR, Bills
Clearly the Bills want to take it somewhat slowly with Beasley, who had just one catch and was barely on the field for Buffalo in Week 15's classic against the Dolphins or in Week 16 against the Bears. Beasley won't be running routes in the exact same offense or under the exact same offensive coordinator during his first stay with the Bills: current OC Ken Dorsey joined Buffalo's organization in 2019, the same year Beasley did.
4. Solomon Kindley, G, Giants
The Giants got past the Commanders a week ago, meaning they are very much in playoff contention. But they're banged up at guard, with Shane Lemieux and rookie Joshua Ezeudu out for the foreseeable future. Kindley has started games in the NFL and packs a powerful punch at the point of attack.
3. Takk McKinley, EDGE, Cowboys
The Cowboys have Micah Parsons ready to go against the Commanders on Sunday, but DeMarcus Lawrence is on the injury report. McKinley isn't as dynamic as he once was in Atlanta, but if there's one thing that's certain with him, is his motor will alway run very hot. Beating Washington won't be a cinch for Dallas, and they have to maintain their strength up front on defense to halt the run and pressure rookie Sam Howell.
2. Ifeadi Odenigbo, EDGE, Buccaneers
Odenigbo was mysteriously released by the Colts after their legendary collapse against the Vikings, and he somehow cleared waivers. Tampa Bay smartly added him as a free agent because its pass rush needs depth. Odenigbo has hardly gotten a fair shot in the NFL -- he has almost always been relegated to a part-time role -- but has been productive! He created a pressure on 12.5% of his 144 rushes in Indianapolis this season.
1. Dez Fitzpatrick, WR, Titans
The Titans need an offensive jolt so badly. I know Fitzpatrick has been a dud of an early Day 3 pick to date. But he was a fourth-round selection! He isn't some collegiate overachiever who just probably isn't quite good enough to cut it in the NFL. Tennessee's skill-position talent has to aid Josh Dobbs in this colossal showdown with the Jaguars. Give Fitzpatrick a chance to right some wrongs from early in his Titans career.
Tevin Coleman, RB, 49ers
Coleman feels like that late-season call-up who could turn in a quality performance for Kyle Shanahan. In his prime, Coleman was best as a one-cut run, and that's all he'd need to be in San Francisco's zone-blocking scheme.
Prince Emili, DT, Saints
Earlier this season, while with the Bills, Emili had a key tipped pass that led to a Jordan Poyer interception in Buffalo's huge comeback win over the Ravens. The Penn grad is a twitchy up-the-field, no-hesitation rusher -- the exact type of player New Orleans could use on its defense right now.
Matt Hankins, CB, Falcons
Hankins didn't test through the roof at the Iowa Pro Day. Far from it. But this is your classic Hawkeyes secondary member. Super instinctive, well-coached in college, and despite his lacking athleticism, always around the football. In his final three seasons at Iowa -- six interceptions and 21 pass breakups. It's time Hankins gets an opportunity in Atlanta.
Jaquarii Roberson, WR, Rams
The Rams are essentially fielding a practice squad on offense right now -- plus Baker Mayfield! -- so why not see what you have for the future in Roberson? It's that's time. And, no, he's not related to Reggie above. Fun coincidence, though. Roberson was a productive weapon at Wake Forest the past two seasons with 133 catches and over 2,000 yards.
Deven Thompkins, WR, Buccaneers
Thompkins had five catches for 53 yards -- including two contested-catch wins! -- during the 2022 preseason. He's also a Brady-type, too, in that he was a 0-star recruit when he joined the Utah State program in 2018. Brady loves an underdog's underdog, and that's precisely what Thompkins is. Lastly, Tampa Bay could use more juice at receiver, especially given how pedestrian the offense has been. He has 4.44 speed, had a 38.5-inch vertical and a 132-inch broad jump at his pro day.
Jaret Patterson, RB, Commanders
No idea is a bad idea when it comes to how to fix the run game. Now, of course, a running back himself cannot single-handedly fix an NFL team's rushing attack. But it won't hurt to incorporate the small, ultra-shifty Patterson into this offense. The Commanders are giving an audition the rookie Howell in Week 18, so they might as well run with some younger pieces on offense with him as a lookahead to the 2023 season.